Multiple choice answer:
- The road is too narrow
- The pavement is too wide
- The car is too big
- There are too many cars
The answer is 3. and 4. - the car is too big and there are too many cars. Over the last 30 years the number of cars on our roads has almost doubled. Since the 1970s the average car has increased in size by 50%.
In terms of road space alone this is unsustainable: people on foot want their pavements back; people on bikes need safe routes to travel on; those drivers that are making essential journeys that can only be done by car (a small percentage of those currently on the roads) would like to do it without being stuck in jams.
So what's the solution? Multiple choice answer:
- More, bigger cars
- Fewer, smaller cars
And don't say "3. electric cars" because electric cars (though vastly preferable to diesel and petrol cars) don't solve the road space problem at all! I hope you'll agree that the answer is: 2. fewer, smaller cars. Trouble is, the current trend is towards 1. more, bigger cars, which just brings more congestion and conflict.
With this trend, the only way to reclaim our road space is to make driving less convenient. This encourages drivers out of their cars and makes our roads more pleasant and safe for everyone.
If you got the title reference, treat yourself!
Published in Islington Tribune 25 February 2022